23. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

One out of every six families in Berkeley County is food deprived. Two thirds of them are children. While in school most of the children are receiving the needed nutrition to keep them healthy. What about when they go home? Teachers are finding that on a continuous basis, students are coming to school on Mondays starving and unable to focus on their schoolwork. Children have enough struggles growing up; they shouldn’t have to worry about being hungry. This is becoming an epidemic in our country and nothing will change unless we make the commitment to make a difference.
In 2010, One Hope Ministries International, decided to do something about this growing problem in our area. Bags of Love, a non-profit organization, is the first program in the Eastern Panhandle designed to assist and provide food for recognized needy children in our school system. Bags of Love (BOL) began feeding 20 kids in one Elementary School and have now grown to feeding nearly 230 kids in Berkeley and Jefferson County every weekend.
Each Friday, the Guidance Counselor or another school official, privately puts a bag of non-perishable, nutritious food in the student’s backpacks to take home on the weekend and over the holiday breaks to assure that they aren’t going home hungry.
One Parent shared full gratitude as she explained to me that “Bags of Love has helped to alleviate some of the financial stress during a difficult time for her family.” One of the students stated that getting his bag on Friday’s is one of his favorite parts of the week.

As a local 5th Grade teacher in Berkeley County myself, I was humbly honored when I was asked to take over as the Coordinator of the Bags of Love Program. As a teacher we do all we can for our students academically and often emotionally, but I have always wanted to do more. Now I have the opportunity to witness the joy of these children when they receive their bag and the security of knowing they will not be hungry when they go home.
Pastor Fred Lee of Worship Life Ministries states: “Through the effort of One Hope, I believe the Bags of Love ministry makes a positive difference in the families’ lives that it serves as we follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. He came to serve and not to be served.”
Bags of Love continues to grow and expand. Schools are being added. Inner city apartment complexes are asking for our help. And we currently have hundreds of kids on a waiting list.
This program runs strictly on donations and fundraising. It cost currently $4,000.00 a month to keep BOL feeding our hungry children, but this amount changes almost weekly as more students are being added to the program. By sponsoring a school or committing to a monthly donation, you as an individual or your church or organization could make a huge difference in the young lives that we are blessing through Bags of Love.
BOL operates on the foundations of truth and integrity from finances which are overseen by a professional local CPA, to leaders who have a huge heart and dedication to helping our youth.

No child should ever go hungry. Bags of Love is making sure that statement becomes a reality in our region.
The Children are counting on you. Bags of Love needs your financial support! How much can you donate in 2013 to help end Childhood hunger in the Eastern Panhandle?
Sincerely,
Misty Francis
Bags of Love Coordinator
mfrancis365@yahoo.com
304-261-4007

23. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized
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When Bags of Love Coordinator, Misty Francis heard that Ranson Elementary School had dozens of children going hungry over the weekend while away from free school breakfast and lunch, she took immediate action. She called One Hope International Director, Ron Larson and asked, “Can we feed these children?” His response was quick and affirmative, “While we don’t have the funds to do add a lot more children, no child should go hungry. Add as many as you can to Bags of Love.”
 Today, sixty children are receiving a free package of weekend food to take home. School counselor Joe Shepherd discreetly insures that each child’s privacy remains intact. Volunteer Amber Whitacre delivers the bags each Thursday to the school office, and school officials place them in each child’s backpack.
Office personnel shared with Ron Larson last Wednesday that the need is overwhelming in the Ranson area.
Many of the children come from financially struggling homes where food deprivation is a constant concern. They see it every day. The appreciation is so high for Bags of Love that the student counsel raised $220 dollars last month from their peers in order to help fellow students have enough food to eat. Student Council President Korinna Smith and Treasurer Madison Walker presented the check on January 9th. Every dollar will go to purchasing food for the students of Ranson Elementary.
Bags of Love is the first of now three local organizations feeding children over the weekend. Bags of Love began in 2010 by Pat and Joel Larson at Berkeley Heights Elementary. The combined efforts of the three weekend feeding organizations now provide food for over 1,000 children every week.
 Bags of Love is primarily funded by personal contributions through One Hope’s “Dollar a Day” sponsorships and corporate and church gifts. Dollar a Day is the leading funding pipeline for Bags of Love. For just one dollar per day you can sponsor a child to make sure they have food for every weekend, over the summer and at each holiday break.
 Dozens of area of business leaders, school principals, guidance counselors and teachers participate in Bags of Love. Each month they gather along with Scout Troops, churches and local residents to pack nearly 1,000 Bags of Love for the upcoming month at Orchard View Intermediate School. Moving through an assembly line of hundreds of drink boxes, microwavable food items, snacks and more, last month 60 plus people helped make sure every bag was properly filled and packed for area children in need.
 Other recent contributors to Bags of Love have been: Mill Creek Intermediate School ($500 dollars); Premiere Jewelry Consultants ($2,150 dollars); VFW Charles Town ($500 dollars); Olive Garden ($1500 dollars); Tropical Smoothie ($1,000 dollars); Eastern Panhandle Foundation ($2500 dollars) plus numerous other individual donors.
 Yet hundreds of children remain to be fed and are on a waiting list. You can directly participate in helping children stay fed each weekend by: funding a child monthly, helping pack food bags once a month or delivering Bags of Love to local schools. For more information contact Bags of Love Coordinator Misty Francis at 304-261-4007. You can also obtain more information at http://www.onehopeministriesinternational.org